Video Cameras forum

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Which format is best for recording the kids?

by suzycat1 / October 15, 2007 9:20 AM PDT

I have a 10 year old Hitachi that needs to be retired. I have 3 year old and 5 year old boys. I will primarily be recording their events: school functions (indoors), sports (outdoors and indoors), stuff at home. I need the ability to keep the picture steady, good quality recording, good for indoor and outdoor light, and fast kids moving around. A good zoom is important too. I will not be sitting at my computer doing hours of editing, either. My budget is $750 or less.
I mostly want to know which format is best for me. If you have any particular models to suggest, that is fine, too. I have heard so many advantages and disadvantages to each format that it is confusing for a non-technical person.

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Will you be doing ANY editing at all?
by boya84 / October 15, 2007 9:45 AM PDT

Whether you do a lot of editing or not isn't the issue. The key is if you do ANY.

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I will do some editing
by suzycat1 / October 15, 2007 9:31 PM PDT

Yes, I will do some basic editing. I would like to remove the bad shots. Maybe as I learn more I would do more editing, but nothing too complicated.

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OK... I couldn't wait any more.
by boya84 / October 15, 2007 12:37 PM PDT

There are basically four types of storage in your range:

1) Hard drive and memory cards: While two different media, the end up getting treated similarly: You capture the video. Once the hard drive is full, you need to move the video somewhere. You can either transfer directly to a DVD burner or to your computer. Video quality is between miniDV tape (best) and DVD (worst). If you are connecting to the computer anyway, why not do a bit of editing... take aout the crappy shots, add some transitions and credits and the date. Presuming your computer has a DVD burner, you can make and share your memories. Video file transfer via USB.

2) If you are willing to do the above, then just use miniDV tape: The tape becomes your archive, has a long shelf life, basically allows for unlimited shooting (only limited by the number of 1 hour blank tapes you carry - and the tapes are cheap). The "DV" in miniDV = Digital Video... not to be confused with analog video from the VHS tape days. MiniDV tape camcorder provide the best quality video compared to the other media. MiniDV transfers via FireWire. Depending on your computer, you *might* need to add a firewire port to your computer. This is generally cheap and easy to do. Of course, you don't have to transfer to to a comupter - you can just use the camcorder as the playback mechanism.

3) DVD based: Poorest video quality for editing; 20 minutes per single sided DVD - manually flip it over for 40 minutes if you got double sided. Discs are not a stable storage media, so expect to end up with discs you can't play back. Finalize or not? If you want to edit, you will need a drawer loading DVD drive on your computer and a DVD ripper. If you never ever want to edit, and can use the camera as the playback mechanism then a DVD based camcorder migh be the right thing... most people can't predict the future. This is not a recommended method. These camcorders should be removed from the market.

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Mini DV best?
by suzycat1 / October 15, 2007 9:33 PM PDT

It sounds like you think Mini DV is my best option. Since this is an older format, do you think the tapes will continue to be available long into the future?

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Digital tape is a fine, current, method
by boya84 / October 15, 2007 11:40 PM PDT
In reply to: Mini DV best?

for storing the best available quality video. Since the definition of "long time" on the availability of tapes is subjective, I can only share what I know.

I know nearly all of the professional camcorders are miniDV tape based. At the moment, there are two exceptions of which I am aware - the Panasonic AG-HVX200 (uses P2 cards and miniDV tape) and external hard drives which can connect to certain camcorders with a DV/FireWire port (almost always miniDV tape based camcorders).

I know there are perhaps millions of consumer through prosumer through professional grade miniDV tape based camcorders out there today and all those people will want to keep using their gear.

I know digital tape stores data as a series of zeros and ones... and is nothing like the analog tape of the old days.

I know BETA tape continues to be available today (many pros use it)... as is VHS tape... and 8mm film and digital 8 and all sorts of media...

So... "do you think the (miniDV) tapes will continue to be available long into the future?" Yes, I do.

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